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The Name Of The Doctor

ShowDoctor Who / Series VII / Episode 14
First Broadcast2013/05/19 - 19:30 (Link: ABC Details)
Related LinksDoctor Who Wiki Wikipedia
Previous EpisodeNightmare in Silver
Next EpisodeThe Night Of The Doctor

The season finale was not only one of the better episodes with some intriguing plotlines, it contained two key moments: the explanation for Clara - the woman twice dead, and a simply mind-blowing reveal of a previously unknown incarnation of the The Doctor. Teh interwebs will go mad over the latter and it sets the scene for a mammoth 50th anniversary special.

The plot is laden with detail, archival footage of all 11 doctors and references to all sorts of things, so I won't attempt to summarise it here; the TARDIS Wiki's account is well worth the read (and a re-read or two).

The secret of Trenzalore is revealed to be the Doctor's final resting place. The Great Intelligence and a new villain - the whisper men - contrive to bring the Doctor there and force him to reveal his name. An echo of River Song speaks his name out of earshot to open the door to the dying TARDIS. The Great Intelligence enters the Doctor's time steam in order to undo all the good he had done. Clara follows to save the Doctor. Her multiple appearances in the Doctor's life are explained and we see more of these. Finally, the Doctor enters his own time stream to rescue Clara.

Then comes the moment that will perhaps define the new series. A shadowy figure comes forward. Clara can see him but does not recognise him. The Doctor explains that it is him, but isn't the Doctor. This conundrum is explained as the name "the Doctor" is like a promise, and this man broke the promise. The man defends himself, saying that he had no choice and that his actions were "in the name of peace and sanity". The Doctor acknowledges this, but is emphatic that those actions had not been "in the name of the Doctor". An on-screen caption then identifies the man as "the Doctor" ...

Speculation is rampant at the moment as to what this means. It seems certain it is a regeneration we've never seen before. But where in the Doctor's time-line is he from? The most popular theory, and one I agree with, is that this is the ninth, ie. between Paul McGann and Christopher Eccleston. His clothing is suggestive, we never saw the Doctor regenerate into Eccleston and we have the Time War and the Doctor's actions to end it that resulted in the destruction of the Time Lords. This could easily have resulted in a regeneration. But, as always, time will tell.